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Full Name: Arthur Ernest Diehl
Rank Last Held: Able Seaman
Forename(s): Arthur Ernest
Surname: Diehl
War: World War II, 1939-1945
Serial No.: C/5429
Embarkation Unit: Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve
Last Unit Served: RoyalNew Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve
Place of Death: Mediterranean
Date of Death: 19 December 1941
Age at Death: 19
Year of Death: 1941
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Memorial Name: New Zealand Naval Memorial, Devonport Naval Base, HMNZS Philomel, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand
Memorial Reference: Panel 10
Biographical Notes: Arthur Diehl was the son of Alfred Emil and Gertrude Victoria Diehl (nee Stow) of Linwood, Christchurch. He died when his ship, HMS Neptune, hit several mines in the sea off Tripoli and sank in December 1941.
Description of Image:
  • New Zealand Naval Memorial, Devonport, Panel 10: Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve - Leading Seamen, Able Seamen Alder - Forsyth (digital photo John Halpin 2011)
  • New Zealand Naval Memorial, Devonport and garden, detail (digital photo John Halpin 2011)
  • New Zealand Naval Memorial, Devonport and garden (digital photo John Halpin 2011)
Additional Information:
  • Neptune's Legacy by Nixie Taverner
  • HMS Neptune was launched at Portsmouth on 31 January 1933. She was one of five 'Leander' class light cruisers completed between 1933 and 1935. Two others were HMS Achilles and Leander serving in the RNZN. They displaced 7,200 tons, could make 32 knots and carried eight 6 inch guns and 550 crew.
  • The Neptune was in the Mediterranean from 1 December 1941 as part of Force K which was searching for Axis shipping, especially those taking supplies to Rommel in North Africa. Early on the 19th the ships of Force K ran into a minefield. The Neptune hit three or four mines and sank with only one survivor. At the same time the Aurora was badly damaged and Penelope slightly. Trying to reach Neptune to assist, the destroyer Kandahar was mined and had to be scuttled the following day. On the same day in Alexandria harbour the Queen Elizabeth with Admiral Cunningham on board and the Valiant were both badly damaged and sank. The Mediterranean Fleet battle squadron ceased to exist.
  • Of the total crew of 766 there was only one survivor. He was rescued off a raft five days later by an Italian destroyer and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp.
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